Okay, this story is a culmination of a bunch of drabblets I had lying around and a vague idea that kept haunting me. I put them all together, and with some praying, put together this ridiculous thingy. I don't even know what the hell I was thinking. All I know is that I will sleep well tonight finally.
By the way, the first section is present time as is the last. The rest of the sections are all in the past.
Warnings: language, historical inaccuracy, mentions of sex, OOCness, weirdness, likely fail and confusion-inducing, murder
Pairing: mentioned Alfred/Arthur (its so fleeting, you might miss it...I HATE US/UK WHY IS IT IN HERE?-SHOT-), Arthur/Matthew/Arthur
Disclaimer: I don't deserve to own Hetalia. EVER.
"Alfred, what the fuck do you think you're doing, skulking about at this time of night?" Arthur hissed, gripping the handle of his suitcase as he regarded his former colony with a less than patient look.
Through a series of unfortunate misunderstandings that resulted in a missed flight at Heathrow which then nearly caused a domestic incident (the details of which the Englishman refused to impart) that had him tossed out of the airport on his arse (to be honest, it was lucky he had managed to contact his officials to warn them so they could work on granting—again—airport privileges to their nation otherwise he'd be en route to a place where electrodes are attached to one's nether bits for far less than a tantrum at the airport) to hail a taxi to Gatwick where he finally managed to book the last flight to Switzerland.
He had arrived in Geneva in the wee hours of the morning (much, much later than he had planned. So much for a nice afternoon cup of tea). He had checked in, snatched up his card key and only just barely thanked the groggy-eyed receptionist in a clipped, painfully polite tone before storming up to his room, intent of stealing a few hours of rest before the bloody meeting where they wouldn't accomplish a single fucking thing without at least three threats of total world annihilation being issued or Germany nearly having an aneurysm and going into conniptions simultaneously or that snail-eating derelict molesting some unsuspecting nation.
But it seemed that the world wasn't done buggering him because now he was face to face with his former charge, shirtless and slacks slung low around his narrow hips and the remains of said shirt tossed over his shoulder.
Green eyes flicked disapprovingly over the long, jagged scarlet lines etched across his defined torso and the kiss scars that gleamed wetly in the harsh fluorescent lighting of the hallway and the finger-shaped bruises staining his inner arms.
"Have you no shame?" Arthur added, all disdain and annoyance. "At least be a little more discreet with your dalliances."
The younger man just regarded him evenly. "I can't really answer for Alfred." The blond said, evenly, with a fluid shrug before turning on his heel and walking down the hallway so Arthur could see the sharp scratches running down the other's back.
"Don't walk away from me git!" The sandy-haired man bellowed, dropping his suitcase, completely incensed by the other's departure.
He's about to tear after that smarmy bastard when a door to his right opens up and a loud voice whines sleepily, "Keep it down Iggy. Heroes need at least eight hours and I need an extra two otherwise my face will look swollen and fat!"
"It doesn't matter if you're already fat. Fatty." Is the quick, acerbic and not really justified response, but Alfred's indignant squawk that follows is worth all the trouble Arthur has endured.
And Matthew doesn't look back once.
Arthur regarded the small child carefully, taking in the softly curling blond hair (too much like that French bastard's, that had to change) and guileless blue-purple eyes (that, too, would change).
The boy was standing in the stream, frilly white nightgown soaked with icy water and clinging to his shins, watching him as well, face wary.
The green-eyed country can't stop the flicker of want curling in his belly but he does managed to bite his tongue before the persuasive words—clawing at his throat, pleading to be free—spill out, warm and cajoling and sweet and utterly selfish. He wants to steal this boy away now, claim him, because he's just another piece of this unclaimed world and the drive to expand, to win, to take power is heady under his skin. But instead he chokes on his desire and steps back, disgusted as he is to know that this child—a doppelganger to the one he already has stashed away—with all his boundless bounty and unlimited future is at the fingertips of that lascivious bastard.
But he knows, in his heart of hearts, deep down in the same spot where he believes, without a doubt, that he will one day have the world and where he knows Alfred will always be something destructively special and where he shoves away his regrets and his loves, that this child will always be his.
So he doesn't step forward again.
Instead he nods at the boy, lips twitching with the strain of holding back an excited chuckle. "I shall see you again. Give my regards to your papa."
And then he walks away, the blond watching him in bemusement.
"Believe me, it was for your own good, Matthew." Arthur explained flatly, more interested in the documents a few soldiers had delivered earlier. Idly blowing on his tea, dispelling the thick haze of steam above the murky liquid, he paid little attention to the near hysterical boy pacing in the room.
"You sent them away!" Matthew snarled, whirling around and glaring hatefully at the other.
"I rather dislike that tone, boy." Arthur scolded absently. "Would you have preferred I march into their towns and kill every last man, woman, and child?"
Matthew is silent, but he angrily gnaws at his lower lip in a vain attempt to stifle his fury.
"Francis would never have done that." He hissed finally and that gets Arthur's attention.
"Yes, well, Bonnefoy was always too much of a coward to do anything necessary." He remarks, putting down the papers and raising a thick eyebrow as he watches, somewhat amused, as Matthew's face reddens further.
Then the boy explodes into a flurry of irreprehensible French and something that sounds vaguely old (that sends shivers down Arthur's spine because he recognizes that horrid tongue because it was the last thing he heard before an axe slid through his skull) and something utterly heathen and Arthur's lip curls disdainfully.
But he doesn't rise to backhand his willful colony—though Lord knows the child needs it. Instead he proceeds to do something that will make a greater impact on Matthew than any birch or whip, one that will cut more than any slash, one that will hurt far more than a superficial sting.
He ignores the colony.
"Just stay calm, my boy. It will be alright." Arthur said soothingly.
Matthew didn't seem to agree, choosing instead to struggle harder against the rope binding him to each corner of the bed and buck up against the impassive Englishman who merely pressed the pillow harder down onto the boy's face.
"You really must trust me, Matthew." Arthur repeats, before whispering "there, there" as the struggles slowly weaken after one last burst of surprising strength. Soon the young colony stills and the man finally removed the pillow gently.
"You're quite the fighter, lad." The rising Empire muses, eyes dark with pride as he affectionately brushes back the pale golden strands from Matthew's waxy face after moving off the slip of a child.
"Why did you do that?" Alfred's voice wavers from the corner where he had eventually taken refuge, in horror, as his guardian stoically murdered his brother. Watching his near twin slowly suffocate had been horrifying and no matter how much he shouted at Arthur or tugged and clawed at the man's arms to try and spare Matthew from this, Arthur hadn't listened to his pleas.
He hadn't listened. Arthur didn't seem to do much of that anymore, Alfred realized bitterly.
"You have to die before you can live." His guardian answered tonelessly, still remembering the way the screams of that beautiful, cloaked woman who used to sing him to sleep before they abruptly stopped and Rome had appeared out of no where—stone-faced and wiping blood off his golden armor—and…
Arthur's not quite sure how it happened, but when he awoke, Rome was cradling him and asking if he now he would behave.
(Arthur didn't really behave, but he knew Matthew would.)
(Francis had already done more than half of his work the moment he abandoned the boy in that dark fort.)
So when Matthew suddenly jerks back to life, mulberry-colored eyes panicked when he discovers that he's immobile, Arthur is quick to hush him, cooing endearments and Alfred wants to vomit at how loving his guardian sounds.
"Calm down, love." Arthur repeats, running long fingers through Matthew's hair (its still too long for his liking) until his newest charge stops shaking and looking as though one good touch would shatter him. When he finally meets Arthur's gaze, his eyes are teary, but he doesn't speak.
Alfred can feel the bile crawling up, so he leaves and wonders if he ever looked so peaceful after the poison.
(Decades and decades later, he can't just not intervene when he catches the slightest glimpse of that same shadow of terror in another country's eyes.)
So Arthur slowly, purposefully, starts to undo the bindings, massaging the abused skin with deft fingertips. "I told you, you'd be fine. You really need to trust me more, poppet. I will never hurt you." He holds the other's face in his hands.
Matthew stares at him, the fear not really gone from his eyes.
But he slowly nods, not once breaking eye contact even when the trembling starts again and the tears actually slip down his cheeks.
Arthur is about to fall asleep when his sharp ears catch the sound of timid knocking. Almost inaudibly, the door inches open and Matthew peaks in, hovering in the doorway.
Lifting up his covers with one hand, Arthur silently allows his charge to slip into his bed. Taking the initiative, Matthew curls up against the older nation and tangles his cold feet between Arthur's.
A few moments later, Matthew's white bear joins them, the bed dipping with his weight.
Arthur wraps his arm around his colony's waist and settles his chin on top of Matthew's soft hair.
"I hate him." Matthew whispers into the worn fabric of Arthur's nightshirt. "I hate him so much."
And Arthur can't help but feel hurt because he's fairly certain Matthew is talking about Francis who chose to help Alfred become independent while his 'favorite' was left to suffer at Arthur's hands.
"Its okay, my boy." Arthur soothes, awkwardly patting the younger boy's back. "He deserves it."
Matthew shudders under his hand and, in an austere and childlike gesture, just nuzzles his face into Arthur's chest.
Arthur holds Matthew until the boy drifts off to sleep.
Matthew looks beautiful and right in the dark red uniform. The musket fits perfectly in his delicate hands. His hair frames his face (of course he had cried when Arthur had his hair shorn short) and even that errant curl is endearing.
When Matthew wears that uniform, Arthur can pretend that everything is okay and that nothing is falling apart despite how hard he tries to catch the shards.
Kneeling in the thick mud as the rain crashes around him, a dull roar in the background, Arthur pays no mind to the icy mud soaking his woolen trousers, his green eyes unseeing. His hands are clenched into loose fists. His musket lying abandoned before him, sinking into the murky ground.
The smell of gunpowder and loss is heavy in the air burns his eyes and chokes him.
His sandy blond hair is plastered to his face and he's not quite sure if the rivulets of liquid sluicing down his face are water or tears or sweat.
His soldiers had left quietly, glancing over their shoulders at the utterly defeated man with concerned and helpless eyes.
As far as he's concerned, Arthur is alone, an island in the storm, completely and utterly alone. So when a body drops down next to him, muck splattering, he jolts back, eyes focusing on the blur of gold and red next to him.
"Alfred?" He whispered, squinting, trying to peer through the onslaught of rain, hope rising painfully in his chest.
"Matthew." The person corrects softly, hurt flickering across his face, and Arthur's eyes narrow as he studies the speaker, refusing to believe it and hating himself for not wanting to. The European nation's face lights up in recognition, eventually and briefly, before the look is wiped away completely.
"Go home, lad." Arthur then ordered, no real heat to his words.
"Not without you." Matthew countered sharply, before shrinking back and worrying his lower lip with his teeth as though he's caused offense. His pale blond hair is plastered to his head, sticking to his nearly translucent skin. Clothed in a waterlogged red uniform too big for his skinny frame, the colony looks more like a child.
"I don't plan on returning to the fort tonight, Matthew." Arthur sighed, already wondering how he could face the rest of the vapid European courts in light of his recent, rather humiliating defeat at the hands of the darling boy he once touted as his greatest prize.
The younger blond was silent, his violet eyes sullen. "You plan to return to London already." He states, petulantly.
"What reason do I have to stay?" Arthur muttered, not noticing the way Matthew flinched and seemed to further withdraw on his self.
"…But…but you don't have to leave yet." Matthew whispered and scoots closer, the sharp knobs of his knees pressing into the older nation's side. "Please, Arthur…" He reaches out, placing a hesitant hand on the other's arm. "I want you to stay." He finally admits, voice shy and eyes guileless.
Arthur, for once listening yet missing the point, can't hold back a snort that breaks free as soon as his colony utters 'I want". "You want?" He queries, tone unintentionally derisive. He hates it when others want because that always means that he has to lose and he hates losing because he wants to win. "You don't know what you want, Matthew. You're just a child." He snaps, harshly.
Matthew's lips press together, melding into the pale shade of his face. "If I didn't know what I wanted, then I wouldn't be here." He said with a scowl on his young face.
Arthur looked at his charge incredulously. "Matthew—"
"Please don't leave." The boy pleaded, fingers digging into the other's arm. "Please, please. I'll do anything…I'll be anything…"
He doesn't say tell Matthew that it's not the same.
Arthur knows Matthew still wears the cross Francis gave him. He sees the unconscious way the other's hands dart up to clench his shirt, feeling the cool metal of the charm and finding solace in its existence, despite the betrayal and hurts endured.
Arthur ignores it when Matthew slips into French, intentionally or not. Because if he were to snap at the other, Matthew would refuse to speak at all and babble is better than silence.
Arthur wants to lock Matthew up in a high tower somewhere in the English countryside because the other is still too, too close to his traitor brother and too, too enamored of a man who deserves nothing from him.
(He wonders if Matthew, too, would weep at night if he were to disappear for good.)
Instead he lets Matthew have independent dependence and Matthew learns to be happy.
(Because if he so much as frowns, Arthur wordlessly leaves the house and comes back days later—always after Matthew begins to think Arthur is gone for good and always a moment after the panic sets in—and reminds him that if he wants to survive, he'd better show some appreciation.)
(Matthew doesn't want to disappear, to be forgotten, because then he'd be apart of Alfred and the last time he and the independent nation were one, his face was pressed into the cobblestone and he couldn't breathe and his so-called savior was rutting against him like a beast.)
At the first blush of a rebellion, Matthew finds himself on the first ship back to London.
Whenever Arthur looks at Matthew, he sees all his mistakes and shortcomings and a second chance all wrapped in a pretty, soft-spoken package and he doesn't think he could bear it if he had to see those eyes look at him with hatred ever again.
So he locks Matthew away until the boy stops yelling and cursing.
He doesn't think he's hurting Matthew, doesn't think for a moment that he's ruining something innocent and he definitely doesn't think that he's wrong.
But when the blond throws himself at him, clinging, and trembles just so under his palm as it glides down the curve of the colony's back, Arthur doesn't feel like he has won.
At least Matthew becomes more acquiescent. At least the defiant glares stop. Soon Matthew can no longer find the words to disagree.
Soon the words trickle to an end as well.
One day Matthew has a growth spurt and, while he's still small, he no longer looks like a cherubic adolescent. He could pass as a man, even though his face is still baby smooth and he's a strange mix of awkward, lanky limbs and plump flesh.
After the Confederation (a long, grueling process that leaves him short-tempered and Matthew exhausted), Arthur catches Matthew curled against his elder brother's side. Alistair, with his devil's smile and sharp blue eyes, smirks when he sees him, his arm wrapped protectively around his 'nephew', long pale fingers deliberately brushing over the other's shoulder.
"He has a little of me in him, you know." The older man grins tauntingly, relishing the way Arthur sputters (because only his siblings can get a true reaction from him with little effort).
The Scot's amusement turns to anger when Arthur wrenches the sleeping colony from his side. When Matthew awakes, disorientated and distressed, and whines that 'it hurts, it hurts', Arthur snaps, "Stop acting like a child."
"What do you want from me?" Matthew asked him suddenly, expectantly.
Arthur wished he knew.
The porcelain vase glides through the air, crashing effortlessly into the mantle and shatters in a spectacular burst.
"Its like you don't even care!" Matthew accused, flyaway strands of hair sticking to his scarlet face. He's already reaching for another of Arthur's trinkets and the Englishman sincerely hopes it's not something he is too fond of.
"You're being ridiculous, love." Arthur said soothing before grimacing as the tinkle of something else being thrown reached him.
"What do I have to do to make you take me seriously?" The blond asked, breathing heavily, on the verge of some terrifying epiphany that would only break him further. "You fight with him. You never have any kind words for him. But you always bend to him whims. You did it when we were children and you still do it."
Don't show him this affects you. Don't let him know how much it affects you. Don't give him a step because he'll take a meter and he'll take more and more and more and—
"This behavior is quite repugnant. It's just a simple boundary, land—"
"It was part of me!"
"No, it was part of me." Arthur said sternly. "You are mine, Matthew."
Matthew looked at him, seething. "I hate you."
Arthur doesn't flinch. He doesn't react. He doesn't move.
His heart plummets. He can't breathe. Its 1776 all over again and everything is just a loud screech of indiscriminate noise in his ears.
Somehow, despite his heavy tongue and dry mouth, he manages to respond, dryly and uncaring, "Oh dear, how ever will I continue on?"
Sometimes when Arthur sleeps he has pleasant dreams.
Sometimes he dreams of young Francis, one who cleaned his wounds and comforted him after a fight with his older brothers.
(It's so much nicer than the Francis who hates him for burning his beautiful messiah or the Francis who slits his throat or the Francis who cackled madly as his country collapsed into chaos.)
Sometimes he will dream of an Alfred who gazes at him with adoration like he was an inspiration.
(It is far better than a mocking Alfred. Or one who looks at him with distrust.)
Sometimes he will dream of Matthew. He will dream of a little boy watching him from the water. He will dream of a boy pleading for the companionship of his white bear. He will dream of a boy he pushed away and dragged back and ignored and doted upon.
He will dream of Matthew, cold and still. He will dream of Matthew, alight with anger and passion.
Sometimes he will dream of the other's slender body pressed against his. He'll dream of golden curls smeared across flushed cheeks. He'll dream of tears and begging and of soft thighs and unmapped flesh.
But usually he dreams of Matthew fading and fading until he is a mere wisp of something greater.
"Have they yet to return?" Arthur asked, his temper forcibly reigned in, as he glared at his terrified housekeeper.
"N-no Lord Kirkland." The woman responds faintly, wringing her hands together.
The Empire sighs loudly. "It can't be helped then. You're dismissed for the night."
The housekeeper looks relieved but doesn't leave immediately, so Arthur turns and raises a heavy eyebrow until she stammers out, "And the young masters?"
"I shall deal with them." Arthur stated tonelessly, lips curving into a displeased frown.
The housekeeper nods and bows before practically fleeing from his gaze. The sandy-haired man merely rolls his eyes and settles into an armchair, already reaching for a leather-bound novel as he waits for his wayward charges to stumble in from wherever they have disappeared to for the night.
And stumble in do they; hours later, a litany of giggles and hushed murmurs the only warnings the older nation receives as his charges appear, faces flushed and eyes glistening and collars undone.
Arthur does not stand when the two enter the parlor, but does watch silently as Steven stands there, warily watching him with the Matthew practically draped over his shoulders.
"Do you realize the time?" Arthur asked suddenly, tone deceptively light. "The sun will be up within the hour."
Steven opens his mouth to answer but Matthew beats him to it. "Steven told me he had never been with a woman." The blond announces loudly, much to the other colony's mortification. Matthew's cheeks are rose-red and his curling hair falls into his glowing eyes and Arthur can almost taste the cheap ale Matthew consumed through the night when he inhales sharply.
"So I took him down to Whitechapel." Matthew continued blithely, too drunk to notice the pure humiliation on Steven's face (because had he been sober, Matthew would never have even initiated their escape). "And we fixed that little problem." He giggled, patting the younger colony's chest lovingly. "She had the most lovely curls too—"
And Arthur has heard enough, the fury at finding out that his young charges were soliciting prostitutes and that Matthew—of all people, Matthew—was the reason and then had the nerve to come back reeking of booze and sex blinded his judgment and the Englishman strode the distance between he and his colonies and grabbed Matthew by the ruffle of his shirt, tearing him off his younger brother.
"Go to bed Steven." He snarled, trying very hard not to just shake some sense into Matthew, who was snickering openly even as he nearly stumbled from the tug.
The normally rambunctious and disagreeable colony darts out of the room, with no hesitation, cheeks aflame and terrified of the rage on his colonizer's expression.
"And you." Arthur hissed, shaking Matthew. "What the bloody fuck were you thinking?"
"That it was necessary." Matthew responded, lips curling into a sneer, snickers dying slowly.
Arthur snorted in disgust and finally shoved the boy down, watching, detached, as his colony landed with a thump before he slowly sat back up, expression shadowed by his pale hair, fingers digging into the dark red rug Arthur had taken from one of Sadiq's brats.
And it reminds him so much of his younger years, of running about, preaching lasciviousness and decadence without remorse, tailing Bonnefoy as they turned the back alleys into their playground. And such a life isn't suited for Matthew—no, not for his Matthew.
"I will not tolerate this behavior, boy."
"And what behavior would that be?" His colony asked flippantly.
"This libertine, disgusting, French—"
"I am French!" Matthew shouted suddenly, head jerking back to stare at his guardian. "Just accept it already, l'Angleterre." He sneered, that long ignored accent slithering back and slicking his tone.
Arthur scowled and knelt down, already grasping his colony by his hair and dragging his head back. "That wretch has no claim to you." He tightened his grip. "You are mine."
Matthew smirks, then. "Francis said the same thing last night." He opens his mouth to speak again, but gasps instead as a vicious backhand cuts off his words.
Arthur watches, almost detached despite the stinging in his knuckles, as Matthew just lies there, shoulders trembling. He hadn't hit the boy very hard, pulling his strike at the last moment so as to not draw blood despite the anger churning in his stomach.
But he still hit him.
"Pathetic." He spits out, stomping down the flaring regrets. "He practically threw you at me, couldn't get rid of you fast enough. And you still crawl back to him." Arthur is furious and Matthew is unrepentant when he finally sits up.
"At least Francis gives me the time of day." Matthew said quietly. "At least he won't ignore me. At least treats me like I'm something."
"You ungrateful little shite—"
"But I'm not wrong?" Matthew laughs harshly. "You couldn't have Alfred, so you'll make sure no one will have me? No whore in this city will touch me—"
"You were soiling my good name."
"What? Worried that all your high society friends and your politicians would know that your son indulges in rakish behavior?" The blond asks, mock pity lacing his words. "Well, perhaps I should tell you now, Arthur. Over half of your high-class friends have already fucked me. Francis has fucked me. Would you like to know who else?"
"Canada." It's a warning, the use of his true name and the younger country knows he'll be facing down the birch if he continues, but he brazenly does.
"Alfred." He says with a smug grin.
Arthur says nothing, just stares hard at his charge. Then, he says quietly, "If you have so little self-worth that you will give yourself to just anyone, then so be it."
Matthew glowers at him. "But what else can I do if the one person I want, doesn't want me?"
Arthur wonders at what point everything went wrong.
He wakes up in cold sweat, haunted by the image of Matthew engulfed by hellfire.
He stays by Matthew's side until his fever vanishes and the boy's organs stop roasting in his chest.
"I love him more than you can ever imagine." Alfred said sharply.
"Well you took your own sweet time, didn't you?" Arthur responded dryly, neatly finishing the stitch and wishing he was monogramming a handkerchief and not repairing Matthew's battered body.
Arthur wakes up, cheeks damp. But, try as he might, his dream is already slipping from his memory's grip.
However, when he takes one last look at the scarred fields and sees the bloody blossoms innocuously fluttering in the weak breeze, he nearly retches and can't meet Matthew's concerned eyes.
He dreams of Matthew drowning, poppies all around him.
"Am I still a child?" Matthew questions, voice hoarse and whispery, kneeling down next to the docile black bear, his healing and slender fingers buried in her fur as her cold snout bumps into his cheek.
Arthur, bandaged heavily and wracked with tremors, gives him an affectionate smile that goes unseen.
For once, Matthew stands tall, unfaltering.
He's so loyal and Arthur knows he doesn't deserve it.
It is not Arthur who finally coaxes Matthew into bed, but rather the fledgling dominion who approaches him.
(He's thankful for that. Because he dared not drag the rising nation into his embrace because then the sin is too thick to bear but if Matthew is warm and pliant and wanton then its okay because he wants it and how could Arthur ever say no to his precious boy who never once faltered in his support?)
(He's also thankful because he didn't know how long he could wait for consent.)
None of the Englishman's perverse dreams could've prepared him for how charming Matthew looked splayed out on his bed or how prettily he moaned or how hyper receptive he was as though every bit of him was charged, electricity warm under his skin, or how his eyes gleamed iridescently in the moonlight.
When it's done, Arthur kisses the pale curve of the other's shoulder and smiles when the other murmurs happily.
He's more content than he has been in a long time.
"I tried...I tried." Matthew whispered, brokenly, violet eyes unseeing.
"You did your best."
"It wasn't enough!" He chokes out, falling to Arthur's feet, face hidden in his hands, shoulders shaking.
Hong Kong has fallen.
"The linchpin of the English-speaking peoples? Were those just words too?" Matthew demanded.
"N-no!" Arthur snapped. "Matthew, please—"
"It was always Alfred wasn't it?" The blond said quietly, all emotion gone from his voice. "You never once held any fondness for me. Everything you did, everything you said…you never meant any of it."
It's resigned and it's accepting and it's not right.
"I really am just nothing but capital to you."
Arthur wants to scream that, no, no he's wrong.
But the words, for once, won't come.
"You know, I was once worried that you would never consider me your equal." Matthew began conversationally. "I wanted nothing more than what you and Francis and Alfred seem to have. But, I know now, that I could be so much better than all three of you."
Arthur, who has already fallen from grace and suffered more humiliations than other nations, says nothing.
"Alfred says I'm weak." Matthew's voice is cold, uncaring. "But, if you ask me, Alfred is just slowly eating his gun."
"I'm just surviving, Arthur. Like you always told me to."
"So you betray us all?"
Matthew regards him with unmoved violet eyes. "Tit for tat. An eye for an eye. A betrayal for years of betrayals."
"You could always hold a grudge."
"I learned from the best." Matthew says carelessly. "Believe what you want, but I'm done with this unnecessary conflict. I've been in enough wars—"
Arthur laughed coldly, fingers drumming against the cool wood of the table. He is hot and sticky in the hot Egyptian air and his starched collar sticks to his skin. "Wars, lad? You think you've seen war? You don't have a bloody clue, boy. I've protected you from everything. I've seen things that would keep you up for years. I've killed and been killed in ways you can't even fathom. I once owned the world. Even now I could rewrite history as I so desire."
Matthew snorted indelicately. "Only because you let Alfred fuck you." He stands up. "Look at you, Arthur. You're not the same man who killed me."
And then the blond leaves. Because he is the world's new favorite son.
"Let me see him." The Englishman demanded.
Matthew's Prime Minister merely looked at him. "If you have something to say to Matthew, I will relay it to him."
"Listen, wanker"—and dimly he realizes that he shouldn't be calling Pierre Trudeau a wanker, but he's called better men far worse—"let me see him."
"Cross will be returned safely. You have my word." The man promises, ignoring the insult.
Arthur's face darkens. "I will tear apart your Parliament if you do not take me to him right this moment."
The Prime Minister looks unperturbed and unimpressed by his threat, almost a little keen to see if the nation would really dare. "No."
Arthur would be impressed by the other's fortitude and composure, but he wants Matthew not some steely, arrogant politician.
"I just want to make sure he's alright." The sandy-haired nation admits and the human's face softens ever so.
"He's not." Trudeau responds bluntly, the slightest undercurrent of sorrow. "He's lucid one moment and hysterical the next. He hasn't spoken a solid English sentence in weeks. He doesn't sleep. He won't eat."
Arthur tunes out the rest of his words, worry and concern churning in his chest and he wants nothing more than to gather Matthew into his arms and whisper comforts into his curling hair and love him like he should've love him for so long.
(Because it's partly his fault. Maybe if he had crushed every single shred of influence Francis had. If he had forced Matthew to choose. If he had saw Matthew for who he was…)
"Tell him to get his act together." Arthur says decisively and Trudeau looks surprised at the ruthless words. "This is nothing but indigestion. It will pass. This, this is nothing." He looks squarely at the leader. "He isn't broken. Don't let him be."
Then he starts to walk away, but pauses for a moment. "You feel nothing for me, do you?"
"I'm Canadian." Trudeau says firmly. "Why would I?"
"How far are you willing to go for him?"
"Well, just watch me."
"I'm not a little colony anymore, Arthur." Matthew sighed. "It's not going to be so easy."
"I'm willing to try." Arthur swears, palms flat against the conference table as he leans forward and silently urges his former charge to just look at him.
He couldn't have ruined everything irreparably.
That was never his intention.
Um, I don't even know. I kinda just wanna cry. I can't believe I wrote this. -dies a little- I guess, my inspiration for this was the tiny idea that the way Arthur treated Matthew was shaped a lot by his pain of losing Alfred. I think Arthur manipulated Matthew and eventually twisted him into something else and he's ashamed of what he did. Not to say that he didn't love Matthew, but that came later. Matthew realizes it later and is hurt because he suffered and still loves Arthur. The whole slut!Matthew thing was just him trying to get Arthur's attention. I think that thats how Arthur would've punished Matthew, by ignoring his outbursts and not treating him like he was important (even though he was).
But its hard to fix something so broken.
On a happier note, hello Trudeau you BAMF.
So...yeah...also, I never planned on putting together this monster of a fic, but in one of my classes my professor started talking about Remembrance Day and he started tearing up so I started tearing up and I was like "MATTHEW" T.T And I was like, now I probably should.
I'll be nice and give you guys the references (though not really in order OTL):
1. Churchill said Canada "was the linchpin of the English-speaking peoples". This section is when England and the US start their "special relationship".
2. October Crisis
3. The Alaska boundary dispute
4. Suez Crisis
5. Hong Kong fell to the Japanese in WWII.
6. WWI (poppies) & Winnie the bear :D
7. Canadian Confederation. (Scotland is only teasing about Nova Scotia. ...Or is he?)
8. The Revolutionary War (suck it England)
9. Le grand derangment
10. Halifax explosion
The whole thing with Steven (Austrailia) and Matthew is just Matthew lashing out at Arthur to get attention. Arthur killing Matthew is a way to exert his power really. He's killing Matthew and taking care of him after to show that he's in control of Matthew.